We often talk about scarves, shawls and scarves as if they were the same accessory. And it is normal, since all of them are mainly used to cover the neck, shoulders or neckline area. But the truth is that each of them has its own characteristics and different from each other. We tell you everything you need to know to learn to differentiate a scarf from a shawl, foulard or pashmina and not to confuse them again.

What is a Foulard?

The best way to know how to differentiate a scarf from a shawl, foulard or pashmina is to know the meaning of each of these apparels.

The foulard, from the French ‘foulard’, is a silk or other light fabric that has a square shape. As a general rule, the foulard usually has a printed pattern and is knotted around the neck or head. Although in Spain we usually call fular to the silk scarves or similar elongated and rectangular, rather than to the square ones.

In the sixties the Italian designer Emilio Pucci made silk foulards with very vivid prints. He was quickly imitated and copied by numerous manufacturers who today stand out for their silk scarf designs.

A mythical figure, lover of these garments was Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco.

What is a scarf?

Silk scarves or scarves made of other soft and delicate fabrics are generally a square garment. There are a multitude of ways to wear a scarf, although the most common is to wear it around the neck or in the hair. They are also known as carré. They can also be called ‘carré’, which is how Hermès named the first printed silk model he created in 1937.

It is an accessory that never goes out of fashion and adds a chic and sophisticated touch to any look. It is worn by both men and women.

There are also pocket handkerchiefs that are smaller and generally square.

What is a shawl?

The shawl is a silk or wool cloth that is usually much longer than wide. Its main function is to cover women’s shoulders and to act as a coat or ornament.

Unlike foulards, shawls are larger and can have rounded or hexagonal shapes to more effectively cover the woman’s body.

And a pashmina?

A pashmina is a cashmere or similar wool scarf, similar in size to a shawl. It can be square or rectangular.


The echarpe is a narrow and elongated accessory. It is a garment that is usually worn extended and resting on the shoulders, with the ends falling in front. It can also be tied around the neck.

When it is made of thick material it can be used as a coat, and if not, simply as an ornament.

Unlike scarves, the echarpe can be worn all year round and is used especially for special occasions and parties. It had its golden age in the 1950s, as an accessory to accompany suits.

It is a garment that can be worn at any time of the year, and is especially appropriate for parties. In the 50’s it became essential as a complement to suits.

The echarpe can be made of velvet, chiffon, wool, thread, etc. And it is common to be decorated with bangs, tassels or embroidery at the end. and is often decorated with bangs, tassels and embroidery at the ends.


We hope we have helped you to know how to differentiate a scarf from a shawl, foulard or pashmina.

In our online silk scarves store you will find silk scarves and scarves in different sizes and prints, all of them with colorful and exclusive prints.

Discover our collections of printed silk scarves here.

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